Do you have enough batteries for an emergency?
When we think of emergencies, we think of planning to be safe, and to be alive. With so many of the things we rely on powered by batteries, we can’t seem to do things without them. Yet the one thing that many people seem to lack in their home is the simple ability to produce light without a source of power. While candles should be a common emergency staple in any emergency kit, batteries are needed more than the candles in some cases.
There are things to know about batteries though before you rush to the store and start stocking up. For one, buy them on sale, as they can climb in price fast and you could waste a lot of money if you don’t do it smart. The next thing you need to know is whether you need a particular type of battery, or whether or not you should have any stored.
My time in retail has given me insight over pricing and type of batteries that are the most common to buy. It also tells me which are the most commonly returned batteries (meaning they don’t work well), and which are the best deals. My time in college gave me a chance to experiment, running tests on batteries to see which would last longer, which had more power and what name is the best known. I draw upon that knowledge to pass on some skills to you, to help you make a more informed decision in your house.
Do you have the right ones for an Emergency?
When an emergency happens, it is best to be prepared. Some people place batteries in their home emergency kits, and others keep them stored somewhere in the house. It doesn’t matter where you keep them, what really matters is that you have some available when that emergency occurs. During a power outage, the first thing people want is light. This means lanterns, flashlights and anything else that can produce light, such as candles. Flashlights, and some lanterns require batteries. So, the best ones to keep for an emergency will be the ones that power those devices. This means AA batteries and D size batteries which are the most commonly used batteries for these devices. Sometimes that can be C batteries too, but it is rare for lights. C batteries and 9 volt batters are good for radios, such as the portable kind, allowing you to tune in to news in your areas. AAA batteries or anything smaller are not something you need to have stored, at least not in your emergency kits or in case of emergency.
What most people fail to realize though, is that with changing technology many devices use their own battery which is then plugged into the wall. Phones, tablets, speakers and more run on similar batteries and all connect via Bluetooth, and need to be charged. A portable charger is great for that. These are called power banks and they come in different sizes. The average ones are as low as $10 and can charge your phone or tablet up to 3 times before it needs to be charged again. A larger unit can run as high as $50 and will charge your device up to 7 times. These all come standard, either designed with a micro USB port, or with an apple device port instead. There are adapters that come with certain models so you can use them for both. The key is to always leave a power bank fully charged just in case.
How to Store Them
Storing batteries is simple, yet it may not be what you think it is. Many people believe that you store batteries in the fridge or the freezer. They could not be more wrong, as this is a horrible myth started by someone who figured the fridge can store food so why not batteries. Batteries can’t stand extreme temperatures, it damages them. Prolonged exposure to the cold, super chargers the battery, but shortens the life span, sometimes to mere minutes.
The best place to store them is in a cupboard or a drawer. You can leave them in the original packaging, but place them in a box that is lined with plastic. Batteries do get old and will eventually leak, so the plastic and the cardboard will slow down the corrosion process and protect anything else stored in there. Since batteries have a long life though you could sit on them for as long as 1 year past the expiration date.
Do not place batteries in a plastic bag for storage. The bag heats up and can cause them to leak or explode if it gets too hot. Don’t freeze them as the same thing can occur. Keep them stored in the house and not in the garage which can get much hotter than the house.
Which is the best brand?
Everyone has their preference of which is the best. Some people like the store brands because they are cheap, and others will only buy the name brand. Personally, I only choose Duracell batteries for all my devices except cameras. For those I use Energizer. If you have ever watched the commercials over the years of these two companies fighting for your loyalty you will realize that one will claim it lasts longer and the other will claim it is stronger. For the record Duracell does last longer, and Energizer is stronger. The difference however is so minute that you would never notice. Duracell lasts up to 2 seconds longer and Energizer puts out .02 more microjoules of power.
This doesn’t mean that generic batteries aren’t good for anything. Toys, and small radios work great with these cheaper batteries, but for something you might need in an emergency you are going to want a name brand.